Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Nelson Mandela Championship 2012


No rest for the wicked they say! Just two weeks ago, the 2012 season finale was played out at the DP world Championship in Dubai where World Number 1, Rory McIlroy emerged victorious. In between, qualifying has been completed for 2013 cards, and the Challenge Tour graduates along with the qualifiers, are all looking to make good starts to the new season. A new event, the Nelson Mandela Championship, will be played at the Royal Durban GC which will be a new venue for the tour. Locals always tend to go well in South Africa and this is reflected in the blog’s selections for this week as 2 of the 3 picks hail from this amazing country.

 I backed George Coetzee in Dubai, despite is lack of killer instinct to get the job done and considered him again for this week. But I genuinely believe its bad value backing big George this week. He wants to win badly, his good friend Brendan Grace graduated onto the tour last year and promptly won on 4 occasions. He will be under a small bit of pressure to do well this week and with his good buddy (Grace) they head the betting at 8/1. Whilst not a great field, there is some value to be had further down. Thomas Aiken owes me at this stage, but recent outings have shown he is getting back into top form and he always goes well in his homeland. He did finish 3rd at the SA Open last month and but for a poor opening 73, he could have contended. At 18/1 with Boylesports, this is a good price and makes my staking plan.

My second pick is Aiken’s compatriot, Richard Sterne. He had a mixed bag of fortune in 2012 due to injury but did manage a handful of top 10s. He has 5 European Tour titles, 2 of which came on hone soil, again echoing the achievements of Thomas Aiken. 33/1 is very generous in my eyes and with a short course in play this week; I expect his iron play to stand him well. He is one I will be watching over the South Africa swing that’s for sure.

My third and final pick is Englishman, David Howell. He has shown signs of improving over the course of 2012. Over 20 events that he played in, he missed 8 cuts, 5 of which were in the early parts of the season. He recently finished 5th in Perth and his top 5 finish at the French Open on a tough course highlights the case that he can still compete and in this field assembled for the season’s opener, Howell is fantastic value at e/w 66/1. If he fins the fairways, he will score this week and hopefully get the blog off to a good start for the new campaign.

The weather forecast is not good for the 4 days with rain and wind expected and this may help the more experienced, patient golfers and the 3 picks above have that.